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17 items from 2003

Carson Daly Caught in Death Threat Scare

23 December 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

MTV presenter Carson Daly has been receiving chilling death threats from a man who claims he was solicited to kill Robert Blake's wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. Former Baretta star Blake is currently the main suspect in the shooting of his spouse Bakley, but a man who calls himself Kevin Hulk has left a message on the answering machine of the actor's attorney Tom Mesereau, claiming he was approached for the murder. Hulk says on the recorded message, "I had agreed to kill Bonnie Lee Bakley. If I did kill her I would tell you that I killed her but someone else killed her anyway." Hulk says he contacted the lead detective in the Blake case but no one followed through to investigate. Scott Ross, Blake's private investigator, says, "Here's another clue that's being ignored. Here's somebody who says, 'I was solicited.' How come they're not out investigating to find out who did the solicitation? This person says, 'I want to kill Carson Daly' How is this not being taken seriously?" And Hulk claims he had a strong reason to wanting to kill Bakley, "I was gonna kill her because she had my address book, My address book is precious." Hulk claims that after he lost his address book, he put his phone numbers in a two-way pager which somehow ended up in the hands of Daly. He says in the message, "What I'm telling you is I'm gonna kill Carson Daly because he has my two-way, and I actually saw a picture of him on MTV with my two-way. I'm gonna kill him." He also told Mesereau, "I am gonna kill Carson Daly and I'm gonna drag you into this." The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the matter. Daly's representatives have yet to comment. »

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Robert Blake's Defense Seeks Dismissal of Charges

23 September 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Robert Blake's defense lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss murder and conspiracy charges against the actor, citing insufficient evidence. The former Baretta star is awaiting trial on charges of murdering his wife Bonny Lee Bakley in Studio City, California, two years ago. The motion, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims no forensic evidence links Blake to the shooting. No gunshot residue was discovered on Blake, and no DNA tests connected him to the murder weapon, the motion states. Blake's lawyer, Tom Mesereau, insists the prosecution has no case, explaining, "The reality is they came up with no evidence at all he participated in the shooting." A hearing on the motion is scheduled for October 31, according to the district attorney's office. Bakley was shot on May 4, 2001 as she sat in a car outside a restaurant where she and her husband had dined. The actor was charged with the murder a year later. At a preliminary hearing, two stuntmen testified that Blake solicited them to kill Bakley. They said they refused and suggested that he decided to do the job himself. If convicted, Blake, 69, could face life in prison. He remains free on bail. »

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Kingston Sells Blake's Old Home

28 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

British actress Alex Kingston has put the home which she bought from murder suspect Robert Blake on the market - even though she never lived in it. The ER star and her journalist husband Florian Haertel closed their deal on the former Baretta star's Studio City, California, home in May 2002 for $840,000 - just days after the veteran actor was charged with murdering his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. After a makeover, the contemporary-style house is now on the market for $1.6 million. Kingston and her husband never moved into the home, staying instead at their abode in the Hollywood Hills. »

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Blake Witness Faces Agonizing Wait and Death Threats

14 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The woman who has given actor Robert Blake a sight of permanent freedom is now fearing for her life - after being told she'll have to testify for his defense in February. Diane Mattson was a caretaker for Marlon Brando when she claims she heard his son Christian talking to two stuntmen about killing Blake's wife Bonny Lee Bakley - suggesting somebody "ought to put a bullet" through her head. And now Mattson's testimony will be heard as part of the high-profile trial next year - for which Blake will stand accused of murdering his wife - and she's convinced Christian Brando will try to kill her. The former maid was hoping she could record an advance testimony, but the motion was turned down in court yesterday and now she'll have to face the court on February 9. Her lawyer Brian Oxman admits his client now fears for her life. He says, "She is terrified. She sat at the back of the courtroom and she said, 'Oh my god, oh my god, what am I going to do? How am I ever going to survive?' She has been threatened by Christian Brando. He said he was going to kill her and I have no reason to doubt that he is going to carry out that threat." »

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OJ Wants To Cover Blake Trial for TV

28 April 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

OJ Simpson wants to commentate on actor Robert Blake's forthcoming murder trial. The controversial sportsman-turned-actor claims American TV networks have approached him about adding his expert knowledge to coverage of the Baretta star's trial - and insists, "I'd love to do it." OJ adds, "I think I have a lot of insight. I don't know if he's guilty or not, but I know there's no such thing anymore as innocent until proven guilty." Blake is accused of murdering wife Bonny Lee Bakley in Los Angeles in 2001. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges after the 1994 murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, but a civil jury later found him liable. »

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Blake Pleads Innocent

28 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Troubled actor Robert Blake pleaded innocent to murdering his wife yesterday - in his first appearance since being released on bail. During an arraignment, Blake and his co-defendant Earle Caldwell waived their rights to a speedy trial until October, when proceedings are likely to begin. Deputy District Attorney Pat Dixon read off the charges against Blake - murder, solicitation to murder, conspiracy and the special circumstance of lying in wait. Dixon asked him, "Mr. Blake, to those charges how do you plead?" Blake replied, "Not guilty, sir." Caldwell, Blake's former bodyguard, pleaded innocent to a murder conspiracy charge. The 69-year-old actor is accused of killing 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley on May 4, 2001, after they dined at Vitello's restaurant - Blake's longtime hangout in his Studio City, California neighborhood. Blake claims he found his wife shot in the head and upper body in their car, after he went back to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection. But Prosecutors argue that Blake despised Bakley - a con artist with a criminal record - and wanted to find a way to get rid of her but keep their baby. The actor, on the other hand, has suggested she was killed by a victim of one of her con schemes. At the end of the arraignment Blake praised the Judge who granted him release on $1.5 million bail, saying, "I want to thank Judge (Lloyd) Nash for saving my life." In a message to his supporters, he added, "I believe in America, I'm happy to be an American. I'm standing here in front of you and that's proof that this is still America and it still works." »

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Robert Blake Ordered to Stand Trial

14 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Robert Blake must stand trial on charges of murdering wife Bonny Lee Bakley - a California judge ruled yesterday after a lengthy hearing of prosecution evidence. But, in a surprise ruling, Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash has also granted a request for bail, which stands at $1.5 million. Since his arrest last April, he has been refused the right to leave jail. Nash cited the "extreme hostility" of Blake toward his wife and said that the actor "had the time, the opportunity, the motive to commit the shooting." In addition to murder, Blake is charged with solicitation, conspiracy and a special circumstance of lying in wait. Blake's bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, will be tried on a count of conspiracy. Bakley, 44, was shot in the head and upper body as she sat in Blake's car outside his favorite neighborhood restaurant in Los Angeles on May 4. Blake claims he found his wife shot after he went back into Vitello's restaurant to retrieve a handgun he'd left behind, which he carried for protection. »

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Blake Said Wife Had Been Beaten

13 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Troubled actor Robert Blake banged on the front door of a house in Studio City, Los Angeles, to say his wife had been beaten - it emerged at his ongoing murder case yesterday. Investigator Robert Bub testified that resident Sean Stanek told police he called emergency number 911, upon the actor's request, on the evening of May 4, 2001. Blake's preliminary hearing, which is expected to conclude this week, will determine whether he will stand trial for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley. His bodyguard is also facing charges of conspiracy. Bub told Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash that Stanek informed investigators he went to the car where Bakley had been sitting when she was shot, and saw the 44-year-old woman slumped in the front seat, leaning toward the driver's side. She had limited breathing and Stanek noticed blood running from her nose - he also saw what he believed to be a bullet hole on the right side of the victim's head, the detective testified. Bub said Stanek told them he tried to comfort her, then backed away as paramedics arrived. Blake "was shaking like crazy," Stanek told police. According to what Stanek said to detectives, the actor said, "They must have beat her up. They must have done something to her. I knew this was going to happen." »

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Bodyguard's Emails Threaten Blake's Freedom

12 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Allegedly suspicious-sounding emails written and sent to troubled actor Robert Blake and his bodyguard in the months prior to his arrest are now at the center of the actor's ongoing murder case. The tapes were presented in court on Monday by a detective testifying in Blake's preliminary hearing. The hearing, which is expected to conclude this week, will determine whether the actor, 69, will face trial on murder, solicitation of murder, conspiracy and lying in wait charges - in connection with the fatal shooting of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley in May 2001. Blake's bodyguard Earle Caldwell, who is charged with conspiracy, reportedly stated in emails to his girlfriend that something was about to occur "that could send me far away." Detective Brian Tyndall claimed Caldwell wrote in another email, "I'm sorry that the fact I am saving someone's life interfered with your schedule. It's not just Robert's I'm talking about. Think about it." Following Tyndall's testimony, Detective Thomas Mathew took the stand and said that when he searched Caldwell's home, he found a catalogue for ordering manuals on how to build gun silencers. »

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Stuntman Says Blake Bragged He Could "Act" Innocent

7 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

A stuntman testified on Tuesday how Robert Blake boasted he could fool police with his acting skills and deny he killed his wife. Veteran Hollywood stuntman Ronald 'Duffy' Hambleton said former Baretta star Blake proposed that the stuntman kill Bonny Lee Bakley while the actor and wife walked to or from a Studio City, California, restaurant. Hambleton told Deputy District Attorney Greg Dohi, "The first thing that came to mind was what's he going to be doing... when someone is 'mugging' your wife? His response was, 'Don't worry about that, I'm an actor.'" The 66-year-old stuntman testified Blake proposed murder in March 2001 but Hambleton didn't tell cops about it until November 2001 - six months after Bakley's murder. Hambleton explained, "I wasn't for sure (that Blake was serious). It was more a feeling of hope that it was b.s." Prosecutors also introduced a suspicious note found in the car of Blake's bodyguard and co-defendant Earle Caldwell. Police found a piece of crumpled yellow writing paper inside Caldwell's Jeep, containing a list of items that included two shovels, a .25-caliber gun, lye, pool acid, old rugs and black colored duct tape. A Los Angeles Police Department detective testified that Caldwell admitted he wrote the list. »

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Stuntman Testifies in Blake Case

5 March 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Retired Hollywood stuntman Ronald Hambleton testified that fear of reprisals from former pal Robert Blake made him delay telling investigators that the actor had solicited him to kill his wife. Hambleton appeared in court in California on Monday afternoon to reveal the former Baretta star tried to arrange for the contract killing of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley through a series of phone calls. The stuntman told the court that Blake "wanted to know basically what it was going to cost him for my services." He acknowledged that when investigators first questioned him he withheld the information for "fear of reprisal, not only against myself, but family members, including my grandchildren. I finally made up my mind that telling it like it is was probably the proper and right thing to do." Blake, who has been in prison for 11 months, is charged with the murder of his wife. She was shot in the head outside a restaurant where the two had just dined. The actor insists he's not guilty. »

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CBS triumphs in war of words

28 February 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Saddam Hussein edged out Robert Blake as the February sweep ended Wednesday. Dan Rather's exclusive interview with the Iraqi leader -- Saddam's first with a foreign TV reporter in 12 years -- drove CBS' 60 Minutes II to its best-ever results in total viewers (17 million) and the key 18-49 demographic (5.2 rating/13 share), according to figures provided by Nielsen Media Research. The program won its 9 p.m. slot in both viewers and the demo. At 10 p.m., ABC heavily promoted Barbara Walters' 20/20 talk with Blake, the former Baretta star accused of murdering his wife (4.5/12, 12.2 million viewers). 20/20 handily beat CBS' 48 Hours Investigates (3.0/8, 9.2 million), which featured coverage of newly freed 1980s "preppie killer," Robert Chambers. But Blake wasn't a strong enough lure to topple the evening's most-watched show, NBC's Law & Order (7.2/19, 19.6 million). »

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Blake Convinced He'll Face the Death Sentence

28 February 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Robert Blake is convinced he's set to face the death penalty for killing his wife - even though his murder trial is only a day old. Blake appeared on American TV Wednesday night for a taped interview with broadcaster Barbara Walters, where he confessed he felt that no one in the world thinks he's innocent of Bonny Lee Bakley's death in 2001. Tearful and frustrated, he told Walters, "You couldn't find 12 people at 20,000 feet in Tibet that wouldn't say, 'Is that man still alive? I thought we killed him already. Well, hang him and get it over with.'" And when Walters asked him if he thought people really thought he was guilty, the Baretta star raged, "What do I care? How do you kill a dead man? What are they going to do to me that they haven't done already. They took away my entire past, they took away my future. What's left for them to take? Are they going to take my testicles away and make earrings out of them?" Blake also used the interview, which was filmed last week from the prison where he has been incarcerated for almost a year, to rage at the justice system which has ruined his life and threatened his baby daughter Rosie's future. He fumed, "I'm going to take Rosie in the park and let all them people say, 'There's the murderer. What's he doing with that baby?' I don't think so." »

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Top Apple picks: WABC, WNBC

27 February 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- WABC and WNBC were running neck and neck Wednesday going into the final day of the February sweep period for New York, according to Nielsen Media Research. WNBC's coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics skewed some year-to-year comparisons as the station fell from a 6.5 rating/15 share to a 4.8/10. WABC rose by 16% to a 4.9/11. Other stations rose as well as HUT levels jumped by two points to a 45.8, helped by cold weather and a blizzard. The final result could hinge on primetime, where WNBC has its West Wing and Law & Order lineup against WABC's sitcoms and a 20/20 interview with accused murderer Robert Blake. WABC's highlight is the continued resurgence of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which topped all daytime and syndicated shows with a 5.8/13, up 26%. WNBC's Judge Judy fell 16% to a 5.1/11. WCBS got a huge boost in the afternoon with Dr. Phil (3.4/9) at 3 p.m. and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at 4 p.m. (3.4/8), but those gains failed to translate into additional viewers for its early news. In fact, WCBS dropped by 3% at 5 p.m. to a 2.8/5 and by 11% at 6 p.m. to a 3.2/2. »

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Court Given Permission to Film Blake Case

24 February 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

A judge has granted Court TV access to the preliminary hearing of actor Robert Blake, who is accused of killing his wife two years ago. Neither prosecutors nor Blake's defense attorney, opposed televising the hearing, scheduled for February 26. Live coverage will be provided by Court TV to other media outlets. Court TV officials say they plan to provide as much live coverage of the Blake murder case as they can. Marlene Dann, senior vice president of Court TV daytime programming, says "We're going to show a good portion of it live, gavel-to-gavel." Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash's decision comes just days after Blake's first on-camera interview since his arrest. The jailhouse interview with TV journalist Barbara Walters is set to air next Wednesday. Blake, 69, the former Baretta 1970s television star, has pleaded innocent to charges of murdering his wife, 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley, in May 2001. »

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Blake Is Granted TV Interview

18 February 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jailed actor Robert Blake is to talk to the American public - at last. The Baretta star, who was arrested and jailed for the suspected murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley last April, has been going against his attorneys' wishes and trying to set up TV interviews with top broadcasters. His efforts to secure a TV chat with newscaster Diane Sawyer last year, which cost him the services of defense lawyer Harland Braun, were scuttled when the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department declared the interview would be a travesty. But, now the authorities have agreed to Blake's wishes, and top broadcaster Barbara Walters will visit the jailbird on Monday, where she will record an interview with him, which will be broadcast at a later date on her news magazine show 20/20. Meanwhile, friends of Blake say the actor is annoyed after hearing record producer Phil Spector was allowed to post bail after he was arrested and charged with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson earlier this month. Blake has not been allowed to post bail and walk free, despite many attempts. »

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More Chaos in Blake Murder Case

16 January 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Robert Blake broke down in tears and begged to be allowed to speak his mind during his latest day in court yesterday. The former Baretta star, who is charged with the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley, asked his attorney to let him answer questions from prosecutor Eric Dubin during a civil deposition. Blake's furious lawyer Thomas Mesereau called yesterday's court proceedings "a clown show" when he appeared outside the courtroom announcing the deposition had been cancelled. But Dubin told reporters outside that Blake's lawyers "terminated" the deposition and said those attorneys plan to seek a protective order to prevent Blake from having to give a deposition. Dubin added that Blake began by talking about allegations in the media that he put a gun down his first wife's mouth. When the plaintiff attorney tried to follow up, Blake's attorney stopped the actor from talking further. Dubin said Blake's attorney threatened to quit on the spot if Blake did not keep quiet. During another related court battle on Tuesday - concerning a suit brought against the actor from his dead wife's children - a second attorney, Jennifer Keller, asked to be allowed to withdraw from representing Blake. Original lawyer Harlan Braun resigned from the case in November over a battle about a proposed TV interview. »

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